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Our view

The illusion that we understand the past fosters overconfidence in our ability to predict the future
DANIEL KAHNEMAN – Author of Thinking, Fast and Slow

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Changing the Conversation
21st Club presents a collection of insights for football club boardrooms

Changing the Conversation

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  • 12 Dec 2018

    Performance 101

    Smart clubs know that results do not always reflect performance, and that in turn teams that are performing well will over time get better results than those that are performing badly – regardless of recent results.

    The question is how we measure performance. Managers often speak about ‘creating the better chances’ in post-match interviews following […]

  • 05 Dec 2018

    An open door policy

    There is a moment in the closing stages of Matt Santos’ Presidential campaign in the seventh series of the West Wing where Santos’ campaign manager, Josh Lyman, and the Vice-Presidential candidate, Leo McGarry, are discussing where to allocate their remaining ad. budget.

    “It feels like we’re closing a lot of doors”, Santos observes as the discussion […]

  • 29 Nov 2018

    A bit of certainty in an uncertain world

    It feels like whichever way we turn right now we’re surrounded by uncertainty.

    In the UK it’s impossible to escape Brexit, with Theresa May this week warning MPs that they have to decide whether to back her Brexit deal or open the door to more uncertainty. While overseas, the ongoing trade war between U.S.-China continues […]

  • 22 Nov 2018

    If you were to invent football tomorrow

    The dramatic conclusion to three of the four UEFA Nations League A groups confirmed the success of the competition’s first edition. By our count, around 40 per cent of men’s international matches this decade were friendlies; it’s likely that competitions like the Nations League mean we will soon consider friendly matches anachronistic, if not already. […]

  • 08 Nov 2018

    No shame in 2nd

    Wherever you look in Europe, there are newly-promoted teams who are impressing in the highest division. In England, Wolves already look set to challenge for a top-half finish. The Austrian Bundesliga has been lit up by TSV Hartberg’s enterprising approach in their first-ever top-flight season. And in Norway, Ranheim are sixth having been as high […]

  • 01 Nov 2018

    The body count

    If you can’t count what’s important, you make what you can count important
    In Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s epic 10-part, 17-hour Vietnam War documentary series, retired army officer James Willbank succinctly summed up the approach senior officials took to measuring the success of military operations. By body count, the US were winning the war, and […]

  • 25 Oct 2018

    The decline of the superclubs

    One of the major narratives of the 2018/19 European football season is the mixed results of the continent’s superclubs: Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid. After a decade of dominance in the Champions League, none of the three are favourites for the competition, and they have collectively amassed 1.8 points per game domestically, 25% down […]

  • 18 Oct 2018

    Liberal football

    We all know that culture matters. It’s not as easy to quantify – either objectively or subjectively – as talent, but we know that at the margins it can make a difference between winning and losing.

    It feels right that culture can also influence the way in which we play too. Directors at clubs have often […]

  • 11 Oct 2018

    The finest Belgian chocolate

    In the months after a World Cup, we tend to adapt our view as to where the world’s talent hotspots are. It was therefore no surprise that after Russia we’ve all been keen to understand what differentiates the production lines of France, Belgium and Croatia. For some clubs, their recent success provides a good justification […]